Lexicography and Physicke: The Record of Sixteenth-Century English Medical Terminology

By R. W. McConchie | Go to book overview

7
The Medical Lexicon and the OED

Much attention has been paid so far to examining what it is that a corpus of corrections to the OED incorporating many sixteenth- century medical terms might reveal about the dictionary and the way in which it has been compiled. The emphasis has been on what the OED might have incorporated had it wished, or would have incorporated had it access to the source of the data, and something has already been shown of how well the OED registered, or failed to register, this particular corpus. It ought to be possible to learn something from the dictionary's history as well, even though it is only partly recorded. The practices of other workers -- readers, subeditors, and other helpers -- should also be considered where the evidence is available. However, a record of editorial decisions by its editors and other workers unfortunately does not exist, and in any case, even if such decisions had been minuted, it does not follow that they would have been scrupulously adhered to in the Scriptorium, let alone outside it. This chapter therefore considers the editorial practices which bore directly upon the collection of medical terms, their acceptance or rejection, their field marking, and changes to these policies which occurred during the history of the OED. It also considers the actual practices of the OED workers, from editors to readers, and the relative weightings given to various sources of lexical data as far as the present evidence will allow.

In this chapter I want also to press the point that further substantial research needs to be done, not only in the collection of data but also in other areas of the OED's editorial policy not touched upon here, and to indicate what directions such research might take. The greater part of the present study has been within the terms set by the dictionary itself; in the first place, because the wealth of material was so great as to be difficult to examine on a broad enough scale and in sufficient detail to be meaningful. More recently, however, the opportunity has arisen for research based in modern technology which will be capable of extending the practical and theoretical parameters

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Lexicography and Physicke: The Record of Sixteenth-Century English Medical Terminology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Contents xi
  • Abbreviations xii
  • I - Introduction 1
  • Notes 11
  • 2 - The Inadequacy of English 14
  • Notes 57
  • 3 - Language and Authority 62
  • Notes 93
  • 4 - The Early Lexicographers: Elyot to Bullokar 97
  • Notes 115
  • 5 - New Data for the Oed: Methodological Problems 119
  • Notes 149
  • 6 - Antedatings 154
  • Notes 179
  • 7 - The Medical Lexicon and the Oed 182
  • Notes 221
  • Bibliography 223
  • Appendix 1, - An Alphabetical List by Author of the Data Excerpted 237
  • Notes 411
  • Appendix 2 - Graphs of the Lengths of Antedatings by Author 413
  • Appendix 3 - Medical Antedatings 422
  • Index 435
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